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Today's quote:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flucht in die Wüste

Click on image to read blurb

Translation of blurb: A movie to accompany the book "The Sheltering Desert" - read excerpt - by Dr. Henno Martin. - In September 1935 two young men, Hermann Korn and HennoMartin, recently graduated doctors of geology, arrived in South-West Africa, today's Namibia. They had left Nazi-Germany to escape the war and to continue their geological studies in the Nauklift Mountains where they searched for water for the local farms. However, the Second World War caught up with them and, threatened with internment as 'enemy aliens', began their two-and-a-half-year long exile deep inside the Namib Desert. In his book Dr. Martin details their constant struggle with hunger and thirst, their insights into a primitive hunter-gatherer existence, the majesty of nature, and the purpose of their self-imposed exile.


Ever since my time in South-West Africa, I have been a 'fan' of Henno Martin who, with his friend and fellow-geologist Hermann Korn, spent two years deep inside the Namib Desert to avoid internment during Word War II.

Henno Martin's book "Wenn es Krieg gibt, gehen wir in die Wüste" (The Sheltering Desert) became a bestseller. [read online] It was also made into a 50-minute doco-film which, after a long search, I was able to buy several years ago. After reading of it in my blog, both Hanno's son in Germany and an Australian academic contacted me for a copy, assuming it was a South African dramatisation of the story:

Dear Peter

I am guessing this is your blog: The Sheltering Desert.

I am writing about the movie, The Sheltering Desert because I am trying to track down a copy of the movie The Sheltering Desert which was directed by the South African Regardt van den Bergh and based on a story in Namibia during World War II.

Would you be able to help me source a copy of the movie please? I have read the book by Henno Martin [The Sheltering Desert], which is what the film is about. I have also visited and published research from Namiba [environmental science] and would really enjoying watching the movie about this wonderful story.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Professor Mark Patrick Taylor
Environmental Science, Faculty of Science
Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW 2109

I replied:

Hello Mark,

I do have a movie of that name but it is not a dramatisation of Henno Martin's book but rather a monologue spoken by Henno Martin to a series of stills and movie clips of the Namib Desert and the places they had lived in and the remnants of their shelters.

I have a huge collection of videos and now DVDs and need to go through them to find this particular title which is made more difficult by the fact that I have forgotten whether my copy is a video or a DVD. Once I have it in front of me, I can give you full details of the makers and the distributors. It was definitely NOT a South African production but a West German one.

After almost a year I've just now received this sequel:

Dear Peter:

I finally sourced a copy of this movie from the director. It's not the best quality but it's watchable and with the book as a partner it's worth it.

Will you do a swap with me for the movie you have of Henno Martin?

I certainly will! And Michael Martin, Henno Martin's son, is willing to swap it for a copy of the book "Zwiegespräch in der Wüste" which is a collection of Hermann Korn's letters and watercolour paintings from his two-year exile in the desert, published in 1996, fifty years after his death.